We just returned from a week stay at the Riu Palace Punta Cana. We booked through Expedia and everything went smoothly. We were checked in quickly and were given a brief orientation. Since we arrived early, our room wasn't ready. We ate lunch at the buffet. We returned to the front desk and were given keys to our room. It was ready several hours before official check in. There are no magnetic key cards and you receive two keys (door / safe). It is attached to a very large plastic key ring. You may want to bring your own key ring to save space. We were then led to our room by the bellhop, who explained the amenities. He mentioned the beverage service includes a bottle of wine, but you need to request it from room service.
The room was located closer to the restaurants, lobby, sports bar and buffet, but far from the beach. This hotel has two main buildings that run adjacent or across from each other, with one end near the pool and the other closer to the facilities. There are really no ocean view rooms as the position of the buildings do not face the beach. We called and inquired about being moved closer to the beach and we were moved to a different room with no problem. After moving to our new room, we were surprised when room service delivered a bottle of wine. Apparently the bellhop had taken it upon himself to request it when we had mentioned we wanted wine. This is what i call great service.
We then took a tour of the grounds and everything was easy to find. All of the six restaurants, except for the steakhouse, are located in the same courtyard area. The steakhouse is located near the pool. Reserving at any restaurant was easy and you can eat at a different restaurant every day. They only accept reservations for two days in advance, so you will have to return two days later to reserve your next two. Reservations can be made each morning at Luigi's restaurant. We had dinner at the Bodega. They had a very small buffet area with soup and salad. The main meal consisted of various meats like chicken, steak, pork chop, sausage, etc being taken to your table. If you are a meat lover, this is great. We found the meats to be overcooked and kind of rough. If not for this, our meal would have been great. We also ate at the steakhouse. It was very good. Their lobster was small with not enough meat. It was definitely not a Maine Lobster. Despite this, the rest of the meal and service was very good. We did not eat at the other restaurants as we did not find the menu items to our liking. That is not to say they weren't good, but we found the buffet to have more than enough items to meet our needs. At the buffet, if you sit in the same area, you will be served by the same person. We did this and our waitress got to know our needs. I tipped her several dollars each night at dinner for her service. While tipping is not necessary, I don't understand people who have a problem giving a few dollars to workers who are living in real poverty. In all but the steak restaurant, males aren't permitted to wear shorts or tank tops. There is a limited room service menu located in the room.
The Riu complex is a series of hotels next to each other. As a guest at the Palace, you are able to use the facilities at the Bambu and Naiboa, including bars and buffets (not dinner). We visited the Riu Macao and Bavaro and used their pools, but could not get drinks. We checked the Bavaro restaurants. They had the same exact menu as the palace. There is a cobblestone path at the end of the beach that leads to each resort.
The palace has a good gym with treadmills and steppers. There is a 2nd gym at Caribbean Street with free weights, but the equipment is rusted. There is a disco located across the casino open till 4 am. Entry is free, but drinks must be purchased. If you don't want to walk to the disco or casino, there is a free shuttle that will drop you off at the casino. There is also a very nice pool bar located at the Naiboa. It has a view of the pool and tables to sit at. The ambiance was very good and the drinks and service was awesome.
The main attraction is the beach, which is beautiful. We never had a problem finding chairs, but there are not many shaded areas and no canopies to hide under, so bring sunscreen. Bar staff provide service at the beach, but we found it quicker to get the drinks ourselves. We had our own large insulated cups which they gladly filled. The bars have a menu listing the various drinks they offer. Chairs were a little harder to find by the pool, but you could always find one nearer the 2nd or 3rd row from the front.
Our room had daily beverage service which consisted of water, beer and sodas stocked in the refrigerator. I would leave several dollars every other day and our fridge was always stocked. A coffee machine is provided and there is also an automated liquor station with four bottles that you could use freely. The balcony had a built in rack to hang or dry clothes. The room was always extremely clean and everything worked well. There is an lcd tv, but it is not connected to hd. To our surprise, there was daily turn down service each night. We didn't see any insects or bugs and there is no need for repellent. We received a call several days into our vacation to inquire how everything was going and if the hotel could do anything to make our stay better. This was very nice. Having been to Punta Cana before, we were very surprised that no timeshare solicitation, or offers of free gifts to get you to attend one was ever attempted. We were glad this was the case.
In regards to the entertainment, there are nightly shows, the sports bar, and disco. Every night we walked to the other Riu hotels to see if we liked their entertainment better. We also did an atv tour and a safari tour which showed you the local area. It included lunch and horseback riding but the many stops were really intended to attempt to get you to buy items such as cigars, coffee, cocoa, liquor, pictures, etc. I believe it would be better to negotiate a price with a cab and do your own tour to avoid the sales pitches and to spend time visiting or doing things you actually want to do. Macao beach is beautiful and I highly recommend visiting.
In closing, the Palace is an excellent resort that was kept immaculate. The service was outstanding and the buffet was very adequate. To avoid sales pitches for tours, skip the next day orientation and confirm your transfer pickup the day before you leave. We will definitely return!!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The 24-hour All Inclusive Hotel Riu Palace Punta Cana opens all year round and is located in holiday area Punta Cana on the Dominican Republic's eastern coast, it is part of RIU Resort with four sister hotels, is situated on the Playa Arena Gorda, which stretches for 26 km. RIU Palace is the most elegant category in the RIU hotel chain, with hotels that meet the highest standards in terms of luxury, excellence and sophistication, creating a unique experience. The location is ideal due to its proximity to Punta Cana Airport PUJ (25 km) and El Cortecito (10 km) and invites you to explore the area. The hotel has 612 cozily furnished rooms with free Wi-Fi and offers many amenities. Relax in our spa, or get in shape at the gym. 4 outdoor pools, 1 children's pool. Day and evening entertainment, as well as our Pacha discotheque. For lovers of gastronomy, we offer live cooking stations at our main restaurant, Japanese, Brazilian, Italian, Fusion restaurants, as well as 5 bars. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Riu Palace Punta Cana Hotel Punta Cana
- Punta Cana Riu Palace
- Riu Palace Hotel Punta Cana